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What is 2-Channel Audio?

by Lance Jackson

If you’ve spent any time around a record shop, a hi-fi music store, or an audio aficionado’s convention, you have surely heard the term “2-channel audio” thrown around.

But, if you’ve grown up in a digital world of streaming music, that term might be unfamiliar to you. So, what is 2-chanel audio? Why is it important, and what benefits can it bring to your home stereo system?

Understanding what 2-Channel Audio is -- and multi-channel audio, for that fact -- becomes a lot easier once you understand the basics of recorded music. Don’t worry though – that’s what all of us here at Smart Automation Solutions are for. This week on the blog, we’re going to look at and explain just what 2-channel audio is, and dig into how it relates to both recorded and live music.

Recording Basics

The goal behind any musical recording is to allow people to listen to the music later, wherever they want to. As opposed to live performances, artists can choose how many takes they want to get the sound that they want, whether it’s a polished or a raw final recording. 

For live performances, instruments are setup on stage before an audience. To recreate that, a listening room at home would allow the audience to sit before two speakers and get close to a live performance because with the ability to accurately recreate the soundstage. Sounds that would come from stage right in a live setting would come from that corresponding speaker, and the same for stage left. So, 2-channel audio refers to the playback of these recorded sounds. Many tracks are recorded and mixed into 2-channels, which allows for at-home recreation of live music anywhere you can put a 2-channel audio system. 

With 2-Channel, Set Up Is Key

Getting the perfect 2-channel sound at home isn’t easy, either – that’s why it’s best left to professionals like us here at Smart Automation Solutions. In order to get the most out of your 2-channel listening experience, we always take the time to properly calibrate your system when we install it. And just like a piano, your speakers may drift from their original settings. Our hope is always that you will get years of enjoyment 

Perfecting a two-channel experience requires the precise placement of speakers, and potentially subwoofers, in the room. When dialed in, the full range of a track is reproduced and played back in the space to create a lifelike musical experience. However, when slightly off, an avid listener will be able to tell because certain frequencies may disappear, sound overly harsh, or the soundstage may seem off-center. Once a 2-Channel system has been set up, neither speakers nor the seating in the listening positions should not be moved. If furniture or acoustical changes happen within the space, you will want to call us out to recalibrate the system for the new environment. 

When planning your next upgrade in your main viewing and listening room (home theater, family room, den or wherever), we recommend that you design your ultimate dream setup and price out the equipment – and then give us a call at 240-242-7272 to help make it a reality! Welcome to the wonderful world of hi-fi audio, and remember that we’re always here to help!

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